Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), who has sharply criticized McCain in the past, says now, "I'm happy." Norquist still can't get McCain to sign ATR's no-new-taxes pledge, but he has the next best thing: video of the candidate promising as much on national television, three times. "With the campaign's approval," says Norquist, "we took those three YouTube videos and sent them to everybody and their brother on the planet." Now when Norquist convenes his weekly Wednesday strategy meeting at ATR headquarters in Washington, there's always a McCain campaign representative at the table. Apparently all is forgiven. "He was just voting against Bush in general" is how Norquist explains McCain's reversal. "I think it was pique."
For those keeping score, my former colleague Ryan Lizza was among the first to pick up on the McCain-Grover rapprochement with this sharp piece back in 2006 (sadly not online thanks to our chronic archive situation):
[C]onnoisseurs of political enmity have savored the relationship between John McCain and his nemesis, the lobbyist Grover Norquist. A Hollywood-perfect hero/villain pairing, the two men have spewed bile at each other for almost a decade, ever since McCain began touting campaign finance reform, a crusade Norquist abhors. But what began as a policy spat has grown intensely personal. Norquist has regularly denounced McCain as a fraud, a flip-flopper, and, on one occasion, a nut job. The McCain camp, in turn, has condemned Norquist as corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff's gay lover. In a Washington devoid of grand political duels, the mutual hatred of McCain and Norquist has always been refreshing.
And now it's in danger of being snuffed out. McCain is as famous for forgiving his enemies--the North Vietnamese, George W. Bush--as he is for collecting them. And, lately, as he prepares to run for president, he's been on a tear, reconciling with many of the same characters who derailed his last run for the White House. Indeed, he's in such a forgiving mood that his surrogates are said to have approached Norquist to broker a truce. To be sure, some in the McCain camp deny it--"not true," insists his top operative, John Weaver. But, these days, you can't even get a McCainiac to bash Norquist. The official position on their feud is, What feud? "I don't know that the senator could pick him out of a lineup," Weaver says of Norquist.
I'll post a link if one mysteriously bubbles up from our web operation.
Update: Here's the link.